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Activities for Introductory Geoscience

Here you will find a wide range of activities for teaching introductory geoscience courses. you can refine your search by selecting the topic or resource type, or by typing in search terms into the search box in the box below.

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Machines that change climate: Porsche 911 Turbo vs. Toyota Prius part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
This problem illustrates how consumer decisions can influence carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, how to make back-of-the-envelope calculations, and demonstrates the power of exponential growth.

Coastal Flooding Assessment part of Cutting Edge:GIS and Remote Sensing:Activities2
Eric B. Grosfils, Pomona College Summary Students are introduced to Spatial Analyst and 3D Analyst, and use these tools to perform a flooding analysis for the Long Beach area of California. Context Type and level ...

Mapping Plate Tectonic Boundaries part of Cutting Edge:Geodesy:Activities
This activity asks students to explore a National Geographic map showing Earth's plate tectonic boundaries. The exercise lets the students examine relationships between plate tectonic boundaries and geologic ...

Determining Earthquake Recurrence Intervals from Trench Logs part of Rates and Time:GSA Activity Posters
Trench logs of the San Andreas Fault at Pallett Creek, CA are the data base for a lab or homework assignment that teaches about relative dating, radiometric dating, fault recurrence intervals and the reasons for uncertainty in predicting geologic phenomena. Students are given a trench log that includes several fault strands and dated stratigraphic horizons. They estimate the times of faulting based on bracketing ages of faulted and unfaulted strata. They compile a table with the faulting events from the trench log and additional events recognized in nearby trenches, then calculate maximum, minimum and average earthquake recurrence intervals for the San Andreas Fault in this area. They conclude by making their own prediction for the timing of the next earthquake.

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To Drill or Not to Drill? A Case Study in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge part of Cutting Edge:Environmental Geology:Activities
To Drill or Not to Drill is a multidisciplinary problem based learning exercise, which intends to increase students' knowledge of a variety of topics through a real world environmental topic. In addition, ...

Global Earthquakes: Teaching about Earthquakes with Data and 3D Visualizations part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
In this series of visualizations and accompanying activities, students visualize the distribution and magnitude of earthquakes and explore their distribution at plate boundaries. Earthquakes are visualized on a 3D ...

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Visualizing Global Earthquakes Where and Why do Earthquakes Occur? part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
In this activity students visualize the distribution and magnitude of earthquakes at and below the surface of Earth and how their distribution is related to plate boundaries. Earthquakes are visualized on a 3D ...

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Secretary of Energy part of Cutting Edge:Early Career:Previous Workshops:Workshop 2011:Teaching Activities
This activity was used in my GEO 101: The Dynamic Earth course to engage the students and get them thinking about different energy resources. It asks them to consider our country's energy needs in the future ...

Playdough geology part of Cutting Edge:Environmental Geology:Activities
This activity utilizes kinestetic learning by having students make models of geologic concepts, landscapes and processes using playdough in the classroom. Key words: kinestetic learning, playdough

A River Runs Through It: an exploration in land use and water resource management part of Cutting Edge:Environmental Geology:Activities
This is an in-class activity where students learn about the interconnectedness of land use, water quality, and water resource management. Students are assigned a river front parcel of land to develop, unaware that ...

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Petroleum Use Jigsaw Activity/Homework part of Cutting Edge:Energy:Energy Activities
Students get one of 3 homework assignments. They then gather in groups, one that has completed each homework to answer questions as a group. The exercises estimate current oil usage, reserves, and amounts available ...

From Grid to Home part of Cutting Edge:Energy:Energy Activities
This one-period classroom activity is designed to have students analyze energy use, cost, and source patterns from household to regional scales and relate these patterns to CO2 emissions. This idea was generated at ...

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Calculation of your personal carbon footprint part of Cutting Edge:Energy:Energy Activities
This worksheet walks the students through the steps for calculating their personal carbon footprint. Additionally it helps them consider options for reducing their carbon footprint and the potential costs of those ...

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Energy Gallery Walk part of Cutting Edge:Energy:Energy Activities
This is a cooperative learning activity using the Gallery Walk Strategy (strategy from the Starting Point Gallery Walk web pages) to enrich student understanding of the complex nature of solving our nation's ...

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Energy and the Poor - Black Carbon in Developing Nations part of Cutting Edge:Energy:Energy Activities
In this activity, students will explore impacts of the use of wood, dung and charcoal in developing countries for fuel, producing black carbon. In-class discussion will generate a list of several broad topics, ...

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Power Source part of Cutting Edge:Energy:Energy Activities
In this lesson-opening activity, students or groups are tasked to make concept sketches that track the source of electrical power as far back as they can conceive. The concept sketches reveal students' prior ...

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Teaching the nitrogen cycle and human health interactions part of Cutting Edge:Geology and Human Health:Workshop 04:Activities
This activity uses objects, pictures, and text in a matching game to define the nitrogen cycle and the environmental and human health impacts of nitrogen. The game can be used to associate useful and detrimental ...

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Tsunami Think-Pair-Share part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:First Day of Class:Activities
David Mogk, Montana State University Course: Environmental Geology 60 students Connecting course topics to real life can be very powerful. The Activity The semester immediately following the December, 2004 tsunami ...

Subduction Zone Earthquakes part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lecture Demonstrations:Examples
While working in groups to facilitate peer tutoring, students manipulate a hands-on, physical model to better comprehend several characteristics of subduction zone earthquakes. -

Formation of the solar system part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
This assignment or demonstration works really well for me in describing the formation of the solar system, the shapes and changes in planetary orbits, and introduces Milankovitch cycles.